I’ve just returned from my first Realm Makers Conference.
In a way it was like attending my first conference ever. Complete with the nervousness of pitching and my introversion on high alert.
These people didn’t know me. How would I fit in? What was I thinking when I signed up?
It began with an interesting experience that can only happen to me. A friend from other conferences saw me and said, “What are you doing here?” Meaning, “What are you doing at Realm Makers, a conference for Sci-Fi and Fantasy? You write Westerns and contemporary. How did you sneak into our world?”
I wanted to tell her I was a spy from ACFW, but the truth quickly came out, that I too have seen the light and now write fantasy with some science fiction on the side.
Of course her next question was why I now wrote in these genres.
The answer—because my critique group dared me. They said, “We bet you can write a fantasy novel.”
My response? “I betcha I can’t.”
And here I am several years later pitching a completed four book series.
There’s always the temptation when we join something new to say, “I’ve come to the dark side.” And what more fitting place than a Sci-Fi conference?
In reality, my experience really was a revelation, a new light.
I discovered Sci-Fi and Fantasy are genres for reaching different readers with a solid message. Readers of these genres are looking for answers and are more open to the ideas Christianity can offer. Not in a preachy or evangelistic way but it ways that share we all struggle with the meaning of it all.
The genres allow us to explore answers in worlds that lend themselves to such writing and to reach readers who might not otherwise pick up a ‘Christian’ novel.
I enjoyed listening to other authors sharing their stories and basked in the brilliance of their ideas and enthusiasm. The faculty and the agents and editors I spoke with opened my eyes to the amazing possibilities for a writer in these areas.
We can explore our imaginations of worlds that might be or might have been. We can delve into the impact of technology and magic, the influences of good and evil, the response of characters as they seek to understand and to survive. These struggles help them to live out their Christ like lives or to seek answers to questions that give meaning and understanding to their worlds and their hearts.
This conference was truly life altering for me.
How about you? What conference experience opened your eyes to writing possibilities?